In Season 4, Episode 9 of Attack on Titan, a recently deceased hero continues to have a positive impact even after his death.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 4, Episode 9 of Attack on Titan, “Brave Volunteers,” now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.
Season 4, Episode 9 of Attack on Titan features a very revealing flashback, one that answers many questions about the time jump that occurs between Season 3 and Season 4. Most importantly, the flashback highlights Marleyan captives integrating into Eldian society and coexisting alongside them, in particular, the new character Niccolo.
There isn’t much of Niccolo’s previous life in Marley. Instead, the focus is on his experience as a cook for the Survey Corps, and especially his bond with Sasha, an unlikely connection that continues to have a positive impact even after Sasha’s death.
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After Eren and the Survey Corps return to Paradis after their “victory” at Marley, Armin remembers the path that led them to where they are. The flashback shows how exactly the Marley scout ships were contested and destroyed, leaving the soldiers on Paradis in captivity of the scouts. One of these soldiers is Niccolo, once Marley’s cook but now Paradis’s cook. Niccolo returns to his old profession fairly quickly, despite the antagonistic feelings emanating from the Scouts. In a fantastic scene where the Scouts are about to eat seafood for the first time, Niccolo and Sasha begin to form a unique bond.
The citizens of Paradis had never eaten shellfish before, they couldn’t reach the ocean before. When Sasha puts a lobster in her mouth, she immediately starts crying. Any bad thoughts he might have reserved for Marley’s captives, and Niccolo specifically, are instantly vanished. Soon Connie and Jean follow suit, devouring Niccolo’s food as fast as they can. Your reaction? Shocked. The people who are supposed to be “devils” to him are now eating his food and lavishing every moment. It only takes something as simple as food to unite these sworn enemies.
Unfortunately, any potential relationship that might have developed between Niccolo and Sasha was dramatically cut short when Sasha was killed. In the present, Niccolo visits Sasha’s grave and is clearly heartbroken. Sasha’s parents arrive to pay their respects and Niccolo invites them to enjoy his cooking at any time, free of charge, as his daughter once did. Despite all their differences, Sasha’s parents shake her hand and accept her offer. This just goes to show that Sasha’s death was not in vain – people of different backgrounds and opinions gathered about her death.
Although Eldians and Marleyans always find differences between them, clearly there are more things in common than not. Sasha’s death just goes to show that people can agree on things, especially if they care. At the end of the day, Sasha’s death brought Niccolo and his parents together in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. His death sheds light on the hope that one day, the Eldians and the Marleyans will finally be on the same team. While fans missed out on Sasha’s potential future romance, seeing her bond with a Marleyan chef was appropriate for her character, considering how much she loved food.
Sasha’s death was heartbreaking and shook fans of Attack on Titan, but the positive side of this loss shows that it is possible to unite the Eldians and Marleyans. While you will deeply miss Sasha’s presence, her character lives on in what she brings to the future of Scouts. His death may inspire them to stop the endless cycle of murders and instead try to bring people together through common ground. With the remainder of the final season ahead of him, Sasha’s death will change the Scouts’ opinion of the path they are currently on.
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